Today, the European Commission proposes to support 450 workers who lost their jobs in the car industry in the Spanish region of Catalonia with €2.8 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Displaced Workers (EGF). The funding will help the dismissed workers find new jobs through tailored guidance and advice, support to develop new skills, and help to start their own business.
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit i, said: "The EU is showing solidarity with workers who have been hit by unforeseen restructuring events. With funding from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, we will help 450 former car industry workers in Catalonia, who lost their jobs because carmakers reduced their production in Europe, get back to work. This EU support will help them learn new skills, apply for new jobs or start their own business.”
Spain applied for EGF support to help laid off workers at ten Nissan suppliers in the car industry, following Nissan's announcement to close its production plant in Catalonia, as part of its plan to reduce its presence in Europe and to focus on China, North America and Japan.
The support to the dismissed workers includes CV drafting, practice job interviews, learning new skills through vocational training, job search assistance and funding to start a business. For instance, workers who start their own business can receive up to €5,000 to cover set-up costs. They can also benefit from personalised tutoring throughout the start-up process. Furthermore, contributions to commuting costs or to expenses for workers with caring responsibilities are possible to help take up the support measures. Workers who start a new job can receive a bonus and benefit from tutoring after reintegration into work. Finally, training on digital skills is provided to help workers acquire the skills required in the digital economy.
The total estimated cost of these support measures is €3.3 million, of which the EGF will cover 85% (€2.8 million). Catalonia's Public Employment Service (SOC) will finance the remaining 15%. It has begun to provide support to the eligible workers in January 2022.
The Commission's proposal requires approval by the European Parliament and the Council.
When carmaker Nissan closed its plant in Barcelona between 2020 and 2021, the company dismissed 2,500 workers. In addition, 8,000 people working for suppliers of Nissan lost their jobs.
The automotive industry is the third largest sector in Catalonia both in terms of turnover and employment. The displacements concerned by this application are concentrated in four counties of the province of Barcelona (Barcelonès, Alt Penedès, Baix Llobregat and Vallès Oriental). The regional authorities expect that the workers impacted by the plant closure will have great difficulties in finding new jobs, unless they receive personalised support.
Under the new EGF regulation 2021-2027, the Fund continues to support displaced workers and self-employed people whose activity has been lost. With the new rules, EGF support becomes more easily available for people affected by restructuring events: all types of unexpected major restructuring events can be eligible for support, including the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as larger economic trends like decarbonisation and automation. Member States can apply for EU funding when at least 200 workers lose their jobs within a specific reference period.
In October 2021, the Commission proposed to support 300 former workers in the metal sector in the Basque region in Spain, who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with €1.2 million from the EGF. One month later, in November 2021, the Commission proposed to support 320 dismissed workers in the automotive sector in the Aragón region in Spain, who also lost their jobs due to the pandemic, with €1.4 million. The European Parliament and the Council approved both proposals and the funds were transferred to Spain, before the end of 2021.
Overall, since 2007, the EGF has made available some €660 million in 170 cases, offering help to nearly 166,000 people in 20 Member States. EGF-supported measures add to national active labour market measures.
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EGF regulation 2021-2027
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